Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. James 3:1
Teachers have an incredibly important role in the life of the Church – and that was especially true in the early Church. On a number of occasions, Paul referred to them as having one of the three most prominent ministries, alongside apostles and prophets (see 1 Corinthians 12:28). If the Church was to thrive, it needed effective, faithful teachers.
Equally, it needed to be protected from people who simply fancied themselves in an influential role, or who deliberately sought to mislead the Church. There were plenty of false teachers around, and James needed to warn against them. He wanted to do everything he could to dissuade the wrong people. They needed to know that the responsibilities of teaching were great, and they would be answerable for what they taught.
The Church still needs good teachers today. The level of understanding of the Christian faith is incredibly low, and reading the Bible is sometimes not seen as a priority by many Christians. In a survey conducted by the Bible Society in 2019 it was found that only 9 per cent of Millennials (people between the age of 18 and 35) read the Bible every day. Another 13 per cent claimed to look at the scriptures “a few times a week” and a shocking 51 per cent claimed to engage with the Bible a few times a year or less.
Those figures suggest that there is a huge need for good biblical teaching, which will equip people to live faithfully for God amid all the challenges and opportunities of life. But for that to happen, we need to ensure that we have good teachers.
Unlike the time when James was ministering, today, we have the blessing of bible and theological colleges that offer a wide range of training. They play a crucial role in equipping people to be effective teachers in the Church. We need to hold them in our prayers and encourage their strategic ministry.
In what way could you help to support Christian teachers and their training?
Loving God, thank you for those who have faithfully taught me about the Christian faith. Help me to support and encourage those who teach your word, and those who train and equip them to do so. Amen